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Elder Services Programs. The Older Americans Act, which funds the Administration on Aging and the Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) does not explicitly include LGBT people as a population of “greatest social need.” Because of this lack of prioritization, paired with shrinking budgets and competing priorities, AAAs are less likely to directly serve LGBT people.73 In 2012, the Administration on Aging did publish guidance to states giving them the discretion to consider LGBT older adults a population of greatest social need,74 so many AAAs do engage this population, including using some funding

on cultural competence training through, for example, SAGECare. Further training must be paid for through other means, such as a state or local grant.

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The Administration for Community Living (ACL) currently funds the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, but unlike the other population groups with resource centers, that funding is not earmarked, meaning it is not guaranteed to remain at a consistent level over the years. As a result of the Older Americans Act’s exclusion of LGBT people, there are fewer tailored services for LGBT people and LGBT elders are less likely to access competent, respectful services from their local AAA, a resource that millions of older Americans rely on. Senior Centers and LGBT Community Centers. Many elders may fear accessing services at traditional senior centers, worried about harassment or discrimination. While LGBT community centers try to fill these gaps by providing competent care for LGBT elders, they lack crucial resources and are often staffed by volunteers, especially in areas that need services the most, such as rural areas or areas with fewer nondiscrimination protections.75 In fact, in the Movement Advancement Project’s bi-annual survey of LGBT community centers, only 2% of all federal grants, 7% of all state grants, and 9% of all local grants over $10,000 reported by responding centers were dedicated towards programs for LGBT elders.76

Funding Community Support The federal Administration for Community Living is a sub-agency of the Department of Health and Human Services and is charged with administering the Administration on Aging (AOA), as well as the Administration on Disabilities, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, and the Center for Management and Budget (as well as other sub-agencies).77 The AOA is tasked with implementing the Older Americans Act (OAA), which directs funding to programs and services that help older Americans age in place.78 A few programs assist administration of the OAA, including the National Aging Network, Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services, and Office of Nutrition and Health Promotion Programs, and Office of Elder Justice and Adult Protective Services, Office for American Indian, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiian Programs, and the Office of Long-term Care Ombudsman Programs.79 The Administration on Aging funds and helps administer the robust National Aging Network, which comprises the State Units on Aging, the Area Agencies of Aging, and the Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations, for a total of over nearly a thousand individual organizations.80 The Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are often the local base for home and community based services for older Americans, which help elders age in place, rather than relying on institutional care, which is much more expensive for elders and for taxpayers.81 An AAA can be a governmental agency or a non-profit, and they receive, on average, 40% of their funding through the Older Americans Act.82 Services provided by AAAs include case management and case referrals for supportive services like in-home care, nutrition assistance, abuse and fraud prevention, and transportation services.83

KEY CHALLENGES TO SUCCESSFUL AGING FOR LGBT ELDERS

Research finds that marriage and partnership provides resilience and protective factors for LGBT adults—just as previous research has shown the same for different-sex couples.69 For example, legally married LGBT adults, especially men, had more economic resources such as education, assets, income, home ownership, health insurance, and gainful employment than unmarried and single respondents.70 Legally married respondents also showed higher levels of social support, and married LGBT women were more likely to have children.71 Respondents with partners, married or partnered, had greater health and quality of life than single respondents.72 This data suggest that while legal marriage carries significant economic benefits, the health benefits of having a partner are present regardless of marital status.

Profile for SAGE

Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults  

Co-authored with the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), this report aims to increase awareness of the diverse needs of lesbian, gay, bisexu...

Understanding Issues Facing LGBT Older Adults  

Co-authored with the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), this report aims to increase awareness of the diverse needs of lesbian, gay, bisexu...

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